Its 46 years since Sir Richard started his first business venture – Student Magazine- since then lots has been written about him, and by him, on business and how to do it. No matter which story, book, interview or blog post you read his business guidelines are the same now as they were back then. They are the same whether he is talking publicly, in private and we witness them all the time when he works on his own businesses.
The guidelines are listed here:-
- If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. You must love what you do.
Sir Richard has always said that ‘If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life’.
I don’t think we have any doubt that Sir Richard Branson enjoys life. The fact is that there will be challenges when we run our business is something you cannot control, however if you take Richard’s advise and see the lighter side it will make it an enjoyable activity.
- Be innovative: Create something different that will stand out.
‘You have to do something radically different to stand out in business’. This is the same principle that Steve Jobs also lived by.. (Build your business – Steve Jobs Style)
The key that these 2 outstanding entrepreneurs live (d) by is to reimagine what the possibilities could be, no matter what industry we are and not to be afraid of being different – in fact the more different the better it would seem.
- Lead by listening: Get feedback from your staff and customers on a regular basis.
We have two ears and one mouth, and we need to use them in these proportions. To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice.
This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, the news articles or your advisor. Get out there and listen more than you talk, people believe what they say, it is the best way to get an understanding of a person and their needs.
- Be visible: Market the company and its offers by putting yourself or a senior person in front of the cameras.
Oh boy! Does this one need any further explanation? I think we can see what Sir Richard means by this and how he follows his own advice.
Of course, you need to be mindful of how the camera sees you and how that relates to your company. The way you preset yourself is your business card. Your staff are representatives of your business treat them well and they will shine for you.
- Keep it simple
‘A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse’
Nobody ever said different has to be complex. Great businesses are created out of solving problems already out there. Another principle shared with Steve Jobs.
The Virgin Group now consists of 400 businesses and while economic times are uncertain, I know that Sir Richard is looking for more investment, business and environmental opportunities – which will be developed or brought using these guidelines. Which of these guidelines will you start using?